In an explosive report published by The New York Times Tuesday night, President Trump’s Defense Secretary pushed for congressional approval for airstrikes on the Syrian regime, but was shut down by Trump.
The Times reports that Trump wanted a “rapid and dramatic response” and had no time for James Mattis‘ calls for taking the congressional approach.
Despite being warned about igniting a “wider war” with Russia, Trump wanted to follow through on a series of tweets he fired off in response to the Syrian government’s alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria,” Trump tweeted. “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
A “compromise” was reportedly made and the strikes ended up being relatively superficial with no real threat to Assad’s power. The strikes never endangered Russian troops or hit military assets believed to be responsible for Syria’s chemical attack, the Times reported.
Nevertheless, Russia came out swinging, saying “the worst apprehensions have come true.”
“Our warnings have been left unheard,” Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in a statement.
According to a report from Reuters, the Syrian government and its allies “absorbed” the attack thanks to a warning beforehand from Russia.
“We had an early warning of the strike from the Russians … and all military bases were evacuated a few days ago,” a senior official in a regional alliance that backs Damascus said.
With both Assad and Trump dodging their own political bullets in this latest round, time will tell if Mattis will be the next departure from the White House.
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